Get a taste for the fabulous food scene, soar above the area in a seaplane, see dolphins up close on a cruise, or snorkel through the crystal clear waters — with so many fun things to do in Key West, you’ll truly be spoiled for choice.
Whether you’re after thrills, relaxation, or anything in between, Key West is a fantastic destination year-round.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in and explore the best things to do in Key West!
1 – Explore Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Built-in 1866 to defend the nation’s southeastern coastline, the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park played essential roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War — and there’s no better way to learn the ins and outs of US history than with a guided tour of the well-preserved fortress.
Located on the westernmost tip of Key West, this historic landmark also offers some fantastic snorkeling opportunities and excellent cycling trails.
2- Snorkel along North America’s only living coral reef
Looking for a fun day out in the water?
Travel by catamaran and snorkel in the clear blue waters of the Keys!
Discover some of the most diverse coral reefs on the planet and meet sea turtles, parrotfishes, angelfish, and so many more aquatic friends.
3 – Set sail to watch the sunset over Key West from the deck of the schooner America 2.0
Get ready for an enchanting evening like none other!
With a stunning sunset sailing cruise aboard a classic schooner, you’ll be able to admire iconic Key West landmarks from the water, including Mallory Square, Fort Zachary, and the Sand Key Lighthouse, to name a few.
For that extra special touch, drinks and appetizers are served throughout the cruise.
4 – Kayaking through the Key West mangroves
Spot Florida wildlife in their natural habitat, learn more about why the mangroves are essential for the local ecosystem, and discuss how to become more sustainable in today’s world with your tour guide — all on an exciting kayak tour through the Key West mangroves!
With warm waters year-round, there’s never a bad time to give it a try.
5 – Have a boat party with your friends
It wouldn’t be Florida without at least a few parties, now would it?
Cut loose on one of Key West’s most exciting party boats, where tasty cocktails, pumping music, stunning coastal views, and hours of rowdy fun with your friends await.
Boat parties are perfect for celebrating a special moment, as well as for meeting fellow like-minded travelers.
6 – Take a dolphin-watching cruise!
If you’re a wildlife lover, then a cruise to the Key West National Wildlife Refuge should sit high atop the Florida bucket list!
The dolphins often come within arm’s reach of the modern catamaran, more than happy to say hello from the comfort of their natural environment.
With an expert marine biologist, there’s plenty to be learned about the local ecosystem too.
7 – Discover Key West on a hop-on hop-off trolley bus tour
The simple solution to seeing as many of Key West’s 100+ points of interest as possible, the trolley offers 13 convenient stops perfect for exploring the best that Key West has to offer.
With both 1-day and 2-day tickets available, there’s a hassle-free option to suit every schedule.
8 – Feel the thrill of a jet ski
Looking for a genuine adrenaline-pumping experience?
Book a jet ski tour, ride around on Florida’s tropical waters, and see some of the most unique scenery in the country — it’s a surefire way to add some high-speed thrills to your Key West holiday, and it’s fun for all ages!
9 – Visit the famous U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham
Serving in active duty from 1936 to 1988, the Cutter Ingham is a quintessential portrait of U.S. coast guard history, a must-visit site for every history buff.
So why not explore the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham museum and learn about one of the country’s most decorated ships?
10 – Discover the wonders of Key West by bike
With barely any traffic and a go-slow atmosphere blanketing the area, there’s no better way to explore Key West’s historic Old Town than on two wheels!
Pedal past famous landmarks on dedicated bike paths, stop into a staple eaterie or three, and let the local guide share all of the region’s most fascinating tidbits the whole way through.
A bike tour is a perfect introduction for first-time visitors.
11 – Enjoy a culinary adventure through the Key West Historic Seaport
Ready to fall in love with the city’s flavors?
Then make a beeline for Key West’s charming Seaport neighborhood, where the sights, sounds, and, of course, indulgent flavors regularly take visitors on unforgettable culinary journeys!
Besides the seafood, Cuban cuisine, and the decadent key lime pie, the seaport also sports a riveting history.
12 – Discover the wonder of the aquatic animal world at Key West Aquarium
Located in Mallory Square, Key West Aquarium is one of the city’s most beloved attractions, offering the perfect outing for families and animal lovers.
With the opportunity to feed sharks, touch cow nose rays, meet alligators, and learn why sea turtles are endangered, it’s sure to satisfy any traveler’s curiosity.
13 – Grab a seat on the Trolley of the Doomed!
Believe it or not, Key West has a dark side; with a number of haunted sites scattering the island, there’s plenty of spooky tales to be told.
Eager to learn all about Key West’s supernatural history then?
Just Hop aboard the Trolley of the Doomed, where local experts share frightening tales of years gone by as you traverse the dark and narrow streets of Old Town.
14 – Have fun at Key West’s world-famous Fantasy Fest
Held annually in the last week of October, Fantasy Fest is the biggest event of the year in the Florida Keys, attracting thousands of fun-loving party-goers from all corners of the globe.
With a parade tradition stretching as far back as 1979, everyone gets decked out in the most colorful, creative, and outrageous costumes they can cobble together — a lot of fun is guaranteed!
15 – Spice things up with a romantic dinner at Latitude’s
No visit to Key West is truly complete without a dinner at the award-winning Latitude’s Restaurant.
While the wide range of delicious dishes is second to none, the 5-star service and breathtaking sunset views combine to make these dinners truly special.
Since it’s so popular, advanced reservations are usually required.
16 – Parasail above the Keys’ shimmering waters
Thinking of trying something totally unique during your time in Key West? Well, look no further!
With a thrilling (yet oddly relaxing) parasailing ride, travelers are greeted by unparalleled views of the Florida Keys below.
It’s one of the most exciting adventure activities in Key West, without a doubt.
17 – Wet your whistle with a social pub crawl!
Looking to meet people? Keen to sample the best brews from the Keys’ finest watering holes? Then a locally-led pub crawl may be just what the doctor ordered!
Hope between Key West’s trendiest bars — including cocktails bars, music bars, local breweries, and historical lounges — and make plenty of new friends along the way.
18 – Watch an independent film at the Tropic Cinema
One for the Hollywood film buffs, the Tropic Cinema arthouse promises to provide the ultimate movie fix, with rotating films of every genre, old and new.
Screenings are usually limited, so check the calendar in advance to guarantee your seat at the latest independent blockbuster.
19 – Tour the historic Harry S. Truman Little White House
For history aficionados (particularly presidential history), this place should sit high atop any list of things to do in Key West.
With a visit to the Harry S. Truman Little White House, intrigued guests can explore the rooms where Truman held meetings and discussed government matters, discover an essential part of Florida’s history, and learn the ins and outs of Truman’s years as president.
20 – Fly in style in a helicopter over the Florida Keys
Fly like a rockstar above Florida’s most beautiful landscape in a luxurious helicopter!
Camera at the ready, people; from thousands of feet above the ground you’ll be able to spot the Keys’ best beaches, admire the mangrove maze, spot dolphins, and discover parts of the island that are only accessible by air.
21 – Dine at the legendary Hard Rock Cafe Key West
Visit the iconic Hard Rock Cafe Key West for great American food and thirst-quenching drinks wrapped in a unique musical experience.
Set within a beautiful historical building on the historic Duval Street, Hard Rock Cafe Key West is the perfect place to dine in style and feel like a star.
22 – Experience a world-class fishing day trip
Key West is nothing short of an angler’s paradise, and its fishing charters have built up a strong reputation among anglers from around the globe as a result.
With so many fantastic fishing trips to choose from — set on beautiful boats with expert crews — there’s plenty of opportunities to catch all kinds of species, including sailfish, marlin, mako sharks, red snappers, and giant groupers.
23 – Visit the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Step back into time as you learn all about the region’s maritime past with a trip to the fantastic Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum.
Besides seeing real treasures salvaged from sinking ships, guests are also told daring tales of ‘wrecking’ — the foundation of Key West’s economy during the 18th century. It’s a fun experience for the entire family!
24 – Visit the San Carlos Institute
Established in 1871 by Cuban exiles, the San Carlos Institute aims to preserve the Cuban people’s language, culture, and traditions.
It also helped unite the exiled Cuban community and has been considered the cradle of Cuba’s independence movement.
Simply put, this place is a Key West must-visit for any history buff.
25 – Pamper your better half at the Better Than Sex dessert restaurant
Looking for a romantic dining experience?
Then pay a visit to Better Than Sex, the perfect spot for celebrating Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, or even a first date!
To say that your sweet tooth will be satisfied is an understatement — to truly appreciate the romantic flavors and atmosphere, you’ve got to experience it for yourself.
26 – Join a glass-bottom boat tour
You don’t need to go scuba diving to admire the underwater world; with a glass-bottom boat tour from Key West, the undersea comes to you — keep your eyes peeled for some exciting and colorful sea life.
See North America’s only living coral barrier reef and admire stunning tropical fish, beautiful coral, intimidating sharks, and adorable sea turtles. Once you’re ready to kick back and relax, the sun deck (cocktail in hand) awaits.
27 – Enjoy a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park
Experience the day trip of a lifetime, filled with beachcombing, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, wildlife viewing, and plenty of sightseeing!
28 – Step back in time and visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Nestled among towering palm trees on the western end of the island in Old Town, Hemingway’s former home is one of Key West’s most popular attractions (and a must-see for literary buffs visiting the Keys!).
After wandering around the lush garden, head inside to discover the well-preserved rooms filled with Hemingway memorabilia including photos, books, and furniture.
29 – Watch the thrilling Key West Offshore Racing World Championships
Speed, power, and fun come to Key West every year for the area’s most exciting water event on the calendar: the roaring Offshore Racing World Championships, where the world’s top offshore boat racers fly across the harbor!
If the dates line up with your vacation, then buckle up for an unforgettable spectacle. To keep up with all the latest news, visit Race World Offshore.
30 – Immerse yourself in hundreds of colorful butterflies
Stroll through a magical environment filled with hundreds of the most beautiful winged creatures in nature — featuring 60 types of butterflies in a truly enchanting setting, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is one of the island’s most popular attractions for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
31 – See the nightly Key West’s Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
Arguably the best way to transition a relaxing afternoon into a lively evening, gather at Mallory Square just as the sun goes down.
Making the famous Key West sunset all the more special, extraordinary jugglers, local musicians, clowns, and magicians create a bustling atmosphere unmatched by anywhere else in the region.
It’s a quintessential cultural experience and fun for all ages.
32 – Stop into Pepe’s Café
Where old-school dining meets modern flavors, the 111-year-old Pepe’s Café is billed as the oldest eaterie in the Florida Keys.
Situated in the Old Town neighborhood of Key West, the restaurant serves excellent island cuisine and delicious cocktails — but even if you’re not a diehard foodie, the funky atmosphere alone is worthy of an afternoon visit.
33 – Visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum and let out your inner treasure hunter
Any Pirates of the Caribbean fans in the house?
At the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, curious visitors learn how Mel Fisher and his crew found the biggest prize in treasure-hunting history: $450 million worth of gold, jewels, coins, and artifacts.
It’s a fascinating story, but not the only one; the museum also showcases other ancient Spanish ship’s treasures.
34 – Taste some of Florida Keys finest rums
You’re on vacation, after all, so why not have a drink or two and unwind?
At the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery, not only are guests welcome to try a selection of exquisite rums, but they’re also taught how the venue uses centuries-old distillation techniques to transform sugarcane into smooth white rum.
Can’t decide what to drink? Opt for a tasting flight, with various award-winning rums, or learn how to make a Cuban mojito!
35 – Say hello to the Keys’ friendly sea turtles
Who doesn’t love turtles, right?
At the Key West Turtle Museum, besides unforgettable meet-and-greet opportunities, visitors are taught all about the protection efforts to save the endangered sea turtles.
This is one of the best places to dive into Key West’ unique maritime history.
36 – Encounter chatty parrots at Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden
Nancy, an environmental artist, has created a magical bird sanctuary that is quickly becoming a popular tourist attraction.
Here, travelers are blessed with the opportunity to meet and interact with rescued parrots and macaws, some of which can talk!
The reviews say it all: Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden is an unbelievable place that all holidaymakers in Key West should visit.
37 – Scuba dive through a Cold War-era ship
Key West is home to world-class diving, scattered all over the island’s shores.
One of the undisputed highlights, however, is the USNS Vandenberg — located off the coast of Key West, this wreck has become a popular site for divers from all over the world.
Considered the world’s second-largest artificial reef, the Vandenberg wreck is a fantastic oceanic playground to explore.
38 – Check out the iconic Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
Dating back to the 1840s and named after well-known ornithologist John James Audubon, the Audubon House Gallery offers an impressive collection of Audubon artworks.
For nature lovers, stroll the lush grounds and admire beautiful orchids and other tropical plants.
39 – Stand at the southernmost point in America
Visited by thousands of people each day, the iconic Southernmost Point Buoy is a must-visit landmark for every Key West first-time visitor.
If you squint hard enough, you *might* (read: with some imagination) be able to see Cuba.
Of course, don’t forget to snap a photo with the colorful buoy
40 – Get to know native plants and animals at the Keys Eco-Discovery Center
Located in the heart of Key West, the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center features exhibits that cover the plants and animals of both Florida’s underwater and above-ground worlds.
With plenty of hands-on activities, it’s a fantastic place to bring the kids — not only will they have a blast, but they’ll also learn the importance of protecting and conserving Florida’s ecosystem.
41 – Taste Floridian-Caribbean cuisine at the quirky Blue Heaven
Filled with rich Key West history, Blue Heaven is a local staple and one of Key West’s most unique restaurants.
Grab a seat under the shaded canopy, let the live music whisk you away, keep an eye on the roaming chickens, and dig into one of many delectable dishes.
Don’t miss the chance to order their famous key lime pie — an iconic dessert featured on countless TV shows over the years.
42 – Climb the top of Key West lighthouse
Built back in 1825 to help the ships navigate the Lower Keys’ shallow and hazardous reefs, the Key West lighthouse is one of the oldest structures and an important island attraction.
Today, guests are given the chance to climb the 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the breathtaking views.
43 – Visit the Fort East Martello Museum
Fort East Martello is nowadays the home of the Fort East Martello Museum, featuring historical exhibits spanning the 19th and 20th centuries.
Discover the fantastic collection of Civil War artifacts, admire Stanley Papio’s unique metal sculptures, learn about the wrecking industry that shaped the Florida Keys, and (if you’re brave enough) meet the Ghosts of East Martello, none more famous than Robert the Doll.
44 – Knock a few back at Sloppy Joe’s bar
Want to get your alcohol fix?
Established on the day prohibition was repealed, Sloppy Joe’s Bar is one of Key West’s most famous watering holes.
Bring your friends, grab a drink (or five), and enjoy a taste of the laid-back Key West lifestyle — it’s one of the best things to do in Key West.
45 – Visit Key West’s oldest wood-frame vernacular house
Located on Duval Street, the Oldest House Museum is (akin to its name) the oldest house in South Florida that still stands today. Built back in 1829 by a ship’s captain, it’s a true hidden gem — and one architecture lovers are sure to drool over.
If you’re thinking about hosting an event — a wedding, a birthday, or a private party — Oldest House offers the perfect backdrop for creating a memorable scene.
46 – Enjoy a unique floating Tiki bar cruise
Looking for something unique, something with a little bit of flair to add that extra fun twist to your Key West holiday? Then book a Tiki bar boat, an experience beloved by locals and tourists alike.
The departure points are ‘Mellow Ventures Café’ and ‘Hurricane Hole Marina.’
47 – Explore the Key West Museum of Art & History
No visit to the Keys would be complete without a visit to the award-winning Key West Museum of Art & History.
Located in Mallory Square, formerly the city’s post office, this four-story red brick building features an impressive collection of artworks centered on the Florida Keys’ fascinating history.
48 – Gaze at the colorful blossoms at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
With the claim to fame of being the continental USA’s only sub-tropical conservation habitat, this natural Key West oasis has been delighting travelers for over 85 years.
However, it’s so much more than just a peaceful slice of nature:
Besides flora and fauna galore, visitors can also admire the art and sculptures displayed all over Stock Island — or, take it one step further and create the art yourself with a student artist workshop at the Garden Exhibit.
Bring your walking shoes; there are countless boardwalks and nature trails (as well as nearby marina piers) throughout the 15-acre living museum!
So, there you have it, folks — the complete list of fun things to do in Key West! We hope you enjoyed the selection!
Do you have other fun activities to recommend? Then don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Happy travels!